HOUSTON (AP) — Texas Southern University officials on Wednesday ousted the president of one of the nation’s largest historically black universities for failing to report fraud allegations in the admissions process and directing a former official to violate university policy.
The university’s board of regents deliberated for five hours before firing Austin Lane because he didn’t report alleged fraud the former dean of law school admissions participated in while enrolling two students, according to the termination notice.
Lane didn’t report a former assistant dean who participated in alleged fraud by allowing a student to be enrolled into a program without submitting an application, the letter says. The board is also accusing Lane of failing to report that same former official over offering another student fraudulent admission and scholarship in exchange for $14,000 in cash.
“A consequence of your actions, and in particular the dishonesty, misrepresentation, material omission, and intentional concealment aspects of your conduct, is injury to the trust placed in you by the Board to manage and lead the university on a day to day basis,” the letter addressed to Lane says.
Lane, who attended Wednesday’s meeting, has denied the allegations and said the board is mismanaging.
“They didn’t mention anything that links anything to myself or any of my administration team. You didn’t hear one fact that they were able to prove with anything they said today,” he said. “My reputation and track record speak for themselves and we have done it the right way, even in the face of adversity.”
Lane has held the top post at the university located in Houston since 2016.
In the four-page letter, the board accuses Lane of directing excessive entertainment expenses that were paid through the TSU Foundation that weren’t presented to the board for approval. He’s also accused of obstructing an internal investigation into the admissions improprieties, according to the letter.
The 6-1 vote to oust Lane was met by outrage from about 100 supporters who were cheering him on as he entered the meeting Tuesday night. Lane was placed on paid leave last month as the university investigated. Chief Financial Officer Kenneth Huewitt is the university’s interim president.
Lane has 30 days to dispute the allegations him, and said he will.
“I’m not going to do anything that’s going to embarrass myself, my family, my supporters that are here today, my students, my faculty or my staff. You won’t find anything they said today that links anything to me,” Lane said. “So, we’ll be back in 30 days.”